14 July 2008

Of Memory Repression

llll ( lllllllllll Of Memory Repression…

A strange thing happened while we were visiting niksisst in the Valley Willamma. We were sitting out on her front deck one evening, sipping siksikimi with brandy, just chatting. Somehow we began discussing sta’aoiksi, a topic that is not at all unusual in conversation with niksisst, who has encountered many in her lifetime. Most recently, she had been hearing the pitter-patter of ferret feet on her wood floors, visitations from her friend pookaa who passed-on during misamsootaa. In fact, the first evening we arrived at ookoowa, I heard them too, ki knew exactly what the sound was, but decided to keep it to myself so as not to remind niksisst of her loss.

In any case, we’re talking about sta’aoiksi, ki piipiiaakii pitches me a lead by saying, “Ryan had an experience recently….” I smiled, trying to recall what she might be referring to, hoping that she’d continue in my stead. She did, but merely with another clue meant to trigger my memory. Aaniiwa, “It almost caused us to drive off the road.” Yes, I thought, there was something like this that happened recently. Only I couldn’t quite remember what it was. There was an awkward silence, as the aakiiksi waited for me to tell the story. When it became clear that I wasn’t going to speak, that I’d perhaps somehow forgotten, piipiiaakii pushed onward. “We were driving down University Boulevard at night, just over by our house. All the sudden Ryan jerked the wheel to one side. He said he’d seen a man run angrily from the sidewalk toward the driver-side window, then disappear.”

It was true. I remembered. There had been a night when we’d driven down University Boulevard, although for what purpose I haven’t a clue. And there had been a man who ran at my window. Once he disappeared, I recall having considered to myself that the man might be the sta’ao of someone who had died on that ridge in the famous battle between niitsitapikoaiksi ki sinaikoaiksi in 1870. Although his exact appearance was vague to me then ki now, I sensed that he was akaitapiwa. The whole incident happened very quickly, we moved on down the road, ki apparently I brushed it off.

Now, one would think that something like this – seeing a sta’ao - would leave a lasting impression. But that’s what I find so odd. Why had I forgotten about the incident? Why is it that I still can’t recall what we were doing, where we were going down University Boulevard that evening. It wasn’t very long ago, just a matter of weeks. In a way, this whole thing reminds me of experiences typical of many paapao’kaanistsi. I wake up, often not remembering what I’ve just dreamed. I go on with my morning ki something might trigger me to recall certain aspects. Yet there are always other aspects of the same paapao’kaanistsi I can never retrieve. Although I do use some memory techniques to capture what I can, there’s an extent to which I’ve become accustomed to this amnesia with my sleep life. Sometimes even the most interesting paapao’kaanistsi can lose clarity or evaporate completely upon waking. But I’ve never had this happen to me in just such a way when I was conscious. What does this mean? Ki the fact that I could gain recall again, but only once someone else relayed the experience back to me. Would this suggest that our paapao’kaanistsi are similarly retained, but that we just can’t access them because there’s nobody else, no witnesses, to offer us the keys?